soldier voting by mail?

Tim,
we are going to run an interview with Zachery Fry regarding his new book, _A Republic in the Ranks: Loyalty and Dissent in the Army of the Potomac_, in a few weeks that might answer your question. Fry does talk about the subject in his book.
Niels

Dear Tim,

You might also consult Jonathan White's book, _Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln_.

Cheers,

Brian Luskey
Department of History
West Virginia University

Thanks for recommending my book, Brian! Tim, I also have a few articles on the subject:

This one looks specifically at New York:

“Canvassing the Troops: The Federal Government and the Soldiers’ Right to Vote,” Civil War History 50 (September 2004), 290-316.

These two at Pennsylvania:

“Citizens and Soldiers: Party Competition and the Debate in Pennsylvania over Permitting Soldiers to Vote, 1861-64,” American Nineteenth Century History 5 (Summer 2004), 47-70.

“Supporting the Troops: The Soldiers’ Right to Vote in Civil War Pennsylvania,” Pennsylvania Heritage 32 (Winter 2006), 16-25.

I list several other books and articles in the bibliography of my book.

Jon

Jonathan W. White, PhD
Associate Professor of American Studies
Senior Fellow, Center for American StudiesChristopher Newport University
http://www.jonathanwhite.org/
Twitter: @CivilWarJon
Hope this helps.

Jon

Quite a lot exists on this topic. Absentee voting for soldiers varied by state. For an account going back to 1812, see Margaret McKelvy Bird and Daniel Crofts, "Soldier Voting in 1864: The David McKelvy Diary," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 115:3 (July 1991). For a survey of every state's constitution as it pertained to absentee and mail-in voting up to and including 1864, see Josiah Henry Benton, Voting in the Field: A Forgotten Chapter of the Civil War (1915).

As a quick follow up, the voting procedures varied state by state.  Nineteen northern states permitted soldiers to vote in time for the presidential election of 1864.  Some set up polls in the field, while others did it by mail.  Some of the states with a mail-in or proxy voting system were West Virginia, Minnesota, New York, and Connecticut.

Here's a piece in the Washington Post's Made by History series on absentee voting during the Civil War and World War 2:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/04/15/despite-risks-letting-...

Hope this helps,

Jon

Jonathan W. White, PhD
Associate Professor of American Studies
Senior Fellow, Center for American StudiesChristopher Newport University
http://www.jonathanwhite.org/
Twitter: @CivilWarJon

Tim,
You may want to look at the diaries of soldiers in the period of November 1864. Those who were company clerks are especially interesting. Some even document the results of the election within their company.

Daniel Kotzin
Medaille College

Zachery Fry will be discussing his new book _Republic in the Ranks: Loyalty and Dissent in the Army of the Potomac_ on the podcast Civil War Talk Radio (https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2205/civil-war-talk-radio or www.impedimentsofwar.org) this Wednesday, May 27. I'll be sure to ask him about his findings regarding soldier voting by mail.

Gerry Prokopowicz

Gerald J. Prokopowicz, J.D., Ph.D.
History Department
Brewster A-320
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858
252-328-1027